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Dr John Yu Fellowship

Become a leader in cultural diversity
In a global world defined by diversity, organisations need leaders who know how to get the most out of diverse talents.

Australia's multicultural success is not yet fully reflected in our organisations and institutions. This program is for leaders and organisations who want to excel at cultural diversity and inclusion.

Over three days, we'll bring together a cohort of leaders from business, government and not-for-profit organisations. As a participant, you will learn leadership skills, meet leaders, and hear about how cultural diversity has shaped their leadership story.

This program is the first of its kind in Australia to address the gap in training for high-achieving multicultural leaders, and for organisations who want to take their diversity and inclusion to the next level.

Learn about diversity and inclusion best practice. Develop skills for leading cross-cultural teams. Develop strategies for building influence and setting the agenda. And, find out how to negotiate diversity challenges in the public eye.

Why is the Dr John Yu Fellowship needed? 

Cultural diversity remains strikingly under-represented in senior leadership of Australian organisations. According to research the University of Sydney Business School conducted with the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2018, an estimated 24 per cent of the Australian population have a non-European or Indigenous cultural background. Yet, fewer than 5 per cent of senior leaders in business, politics, government and higher education have such a background.

We believe that getting more out of our cultural diversity will require sustained efforts, including targeted leadership development.

Who should attend? 

Participants in the Fellowship will be high-achieving leaders who have approximately 15 years of experience in the workforce. They will come from a culturally diverse background or have an interest in growing cultural diversity in Australia's leadership.

Past participants in the program have come from a range of organisations, including:

  • ABC
  • ANZ
  • Attorney General's Department
  • Baker McKenzie
  • BHP
  • CBA
  • Chartered Accountants ANZ
  • Clayton Utz
  • Corrs Chambers Westgarth
  • Deloitte 
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • DFAT
  • EY 
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • iCare
  • King and Wood Mallesons
  • KPMG
  • Laing O'Rourke
  • Minter Ellison
  • Multicultural Australia
  • NBN Co
  • Network 10
  • NSW Department of Education
  • NSW Police 
  • NSW Transport
  • NSW Upper House - Committees Office
  • PwC
  • QLD Police
  • Refugee Council of Australia
  • Reserve Bank of Australia
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • Westpac
  • Woolworths
“The John Yu Fellowship gave me an opportunity to be inspired by world-class speakers and learn from accomplished peers in different industries in a condensed, effective way. I came out of the experience with a better understanding of myself, the society that we fight to better, and a keener grasp of how to think and speak productively about diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Yeesum Lo, Head of Development at Network 10 ViacomCBS, 2020 Dr John Yu Fellow

What's in the program? 

Our three-day intensive program aims to enhance strategic awareness of cultural diversity and leadership. It will help participants build a network for leadership on cultural diversity.

Participants will be encouraged to return to their organisations and put their learning into practice. 

Key themes in the three-day workshop component include:

  1. Making the case for diversity and inclusion
  2. Diversity and inclusion best practice
  3. Leading cross-cultural teams
  4. Policy and agenda setting
  5. Managing hard conversations
  6. Dealing with diversity issues in the public domain

The curriculum will draw upon leading academics, as well as senior leaders from various fields. Fellows will also take part in reflection and innovative modes of learning.

Next course dates: 

Wednesday 13 December – Friday 15 December 2023

Location: The University of Sydney Business School
Sydney CBD Campus
Level 17, 133 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000
Cost:  $6,000 ex GST

Program Directors

Professor Tim Soutphommasane

Tim Soutphommasane is Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory). He is a political theorist and human rights advocate.

From 2013 to 2018, Tim was Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner. His thinking on patriotism, multiculturalism and national identity has been influential in debates in Australia and Britain.

Professor Clinton Free

Image of Clinton Free

Professor Clinton Free was appointed Academic Director of Executive Education and Global Executive MBA Program Director at the University of Sydney Business School in 2019.

He brings a wealth of international experience to the role, previously teaching MBA programs at Oxford University, Cornell University and the Queen’s School of Business.

Dr John Yu

The fellowship is named after prominent paediatrician Dr John Yu AC. An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Yu was born in Nanking in China and came to Australia when he was three years old.

He has spent his working life dedicated to improving health outcomes for children. One significant achievement - among many - was his leadership in the planning and building of the Children's Hospital at Westmead in NSW, a world's best practice facility that combined art, design and the best medical care for children.

His commitment to our community extends beyond health and into the arts, community and education sectors too. From 2000 to 2005 he served as Chancellor of UNSW and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW as well as the Chair of the Australia-China Council. In 1996, Dr Yu received the Australian of the Year award.


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